Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Future is bright for Shepparton waterskiers

Shepparton waterskiers Tom Bennett and Layne Moroney have won a swag of trophies during the NSW-ACT Malibu Waterski Series.

DAMEN FRANCIS February 14, 2014 4:56am

Shepparton waterskiers Tom Bennett and Layne Moroney are making their mark in the NSW-ACT Malibu Series.

A pair of Shepparton waterskiers is making waves either side of the Victorian-NSW border.

Cousins Tom Bennett and Layne Moroney are more than holding their own as first-year skiers in the NSW and ACT Malibu Series — an eight-round competition that runs from October to March, ahead of the NSW State Waterski Titles at Albury.

The Goulburn Valley Grammar students continued their fine form in round seven at Narrandera last weekend.

Bennett, 13, won his fifth straight slalom race — having only contested five of the seven rounds — while Moroney, 11, won her second trick event in a row with a score of more than 800 points.

So rapid has Moroney’s rise been, she was named Skier of the Tournament for round seven.

Coached by Australian Slalom record-holder Nick Adams, the future looks bright for the talented duo.

But it has not been an easy ride.

Every summer their family packs up and relocates to Bundalong, where they train two or three times per day.

Moroney’s mother, Gaye Bennett, said the boat had clocked up 100 hours and the adults spent most of that time behind the wheel.

‘‘They’ve been good strong skiers since they were young,’’ Bennett said.

‘‘They had some lessons and started in the mini divisions and have just gone on from there.

‘‘They’re both nationally rated now and their aim is to ski down at Moomba on the Yarra.’’

The Melbourne festival remains one of the most prestigious events on the waterski circuit.

As they continue to develop, the ropes get shorter and the speeds get higher.

Both skiers are now using 16m ropes and have increased in speed from 37km/h to the maximum allowed speeds of 55km/h for under-14 boys and 52km/h for under-14 girls.

Bennett said as a mother and aunt, it was the next step that made her nervous.

‘‘They ski hard and they stack harder, but I don’t get too worried,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s when they go over jumps I have to look away sometimes.’’

Tom prefers slalom skiing to trick skiing and enjoys the camaraderie of the waterski scene.

‘‘It’s great how everyone encourages you and you get to meet new people and have fun,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m new to trick skiing, so I’m still getting my head around it.’’

For Layne, trick skiing is an opportunity to express herself out on the water.

‘‘I like tricks most of the time, I do toe tricks and hand tricks,’’ she said.

‘‘Everyone is really nice at competitions.’’

Their next event is at Temora in two weeks.

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